Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Judge Posner, "Prolific Bastard"
says Slate

After Judge Richard Posner's critical assessment of the mainstream media (see here, for example), Jack Shafer wrote this critique in Slate. He accuses Posner of "ignoring journalistic history", of being "too lazy to collect evidence," and of mistakenly extrapolating recent trends into the future. His substantive criticisms seem at least plausible, and they raise good questions about Posner's original piece [Though I doubt anyone can reasonably accuse Posner of being lazy].

Shafer asks,

Who is more deeply invested in new media, especially the Web, than the old media? If they can turn a buck, they'll willingly plow their newspapers into Web sites. In his rush to complete the piece, Posner also ignores the fact that millions more read quality journalism from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times because they're available on the Web. The ability of these news organizations to profit off their Web presence might be lagging, but not their influence.
His piece concludes with three cheap shots (it isn't clear who wrote the last one):

Sloppy writing like Posner's is enough to erode my trust in American jurisprudence.

Maybe Posner should stop composing his essays with a paint roller and switch to a Sanford Uniball Micro. ...

Related in Slate
The prolific bastard of whom we write in this column contributed a "Diary" back in 2002 and jousted with animal rightist Peter Singer in 2001.

For a more thoughtful perspective, see Tyler Cowen's posting at Marginal Revolution.
I expect the Internet to make mainstream media more centralized in key regards. Ebay and Craigslist will cut out classified ads as a source of profitability for many mid-tier papers. Bloggers will make the leading papers more focal, and thus more important to read. Can you understand the economics blogosphere if you do not read Paul Krugman? It is fringe and niche media that will make national newspapers more viable.
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